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History of healthcare use and disease burden in older adults with different levels of alcohol use. A register-based cohort study

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  • Anna Mejldal
  • Kjeld Andersen
  • Silke Behrendt
  • Randi Bilberg
  • Anne Illemann Christensen
  • Cathrine Juel Lau
  • Sören Möller
  • Anette Søgaard Nielsen
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BACKGROUND: Only a minority of individuals with problematic alcohol use ever seek alcohol treatment. Knowledge of general help-seeking behavior in the healthcare system can identify possibilities for prevention and intervention.

METHOD: The current study describes healthcare use, burden of disease, and prior morbidities over a 15-year period by current alcohol use behavior among Danish adults aged 60-70. The Danish National Health Survey 2013 and the baseline assessment of the Elderly Study (2014-2016) were linked to Danish national registers to collect annual information on healthcare use and morbidity for the 15 years prior to inclusion. Participants from the 3 largest Danish municipalities were divided into 4 groups with varying drinking patterns and no recent treatment [12-month abstinent (n = 691), low-risk drinkers (n = 1978), moderate-risk drinkers (n = 602), and high-risk drinkers (n = 467)], and a group of treatment-seeking individuals with a 12-month DSM-5 alcohol use disorder (AUD; n=262). Negative binomial regression models were utilized to compare rates of healthcare use and logistic regressions were used to compare odds of diagnoses.

RESULTS: Low-, moderate-, and high-risk drinkers had similar rates of past healthcare utilization (low-risk mean yearly number of contacts for primary care 7.50 (yearly range 6.25-8.45), outpatient care 0.80 (0.41-1.32) and inpatient care 0.13 (0.10-0.21)). Higher rates were observed for both the 12-month abstinent group (adjusted RR = 1.16-1.26) and the group with AUD (ARR = 1.40-1.60) compared to the group with low-risk alcohol consumption. Individuals with AUD had higher odds of previous liver disease (adjusted OR = 6.30), ulcer disease (AOR = 2.83), and peripheral vascular disease (AOR 2.71). Twelve-month abstinence was associated with higher odds of diabetes (AOR = 1.97) and ulcer disease (AOR = 2.10).

CONCLUSIONS: Looking back in time, we found that older adults had regular healthcare contacts, with those who received treatment for AUD having had the highest contact frequency and prevalence of alcohol-related diseases. Thus, healthcare settings are suitable locations for efforts at AUD prevention and intervention.

TidsskriftAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)1237-1248
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2021

ID: 65442500